Currently Playing, January 2017

Not Your Usual Lazy Catchup Post

As an alternative to a catchup post, here’s a catchup post. Only it’s more to declutter my game playing mind after a flurry of new games obtained over the Jesus Birthday Period. Got that? Right.

So for Christmas I got four Switch games – Splatoon 2 (which I’ve covered already), Super Bomberman R, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 and Fire Emblem Warriors. Because my wife is the most excellent of wives. I also got a free copy of The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game (also for the Switch) just before Christmas thanks to some supermarket loyalty points.

In addition, I got quite a bit of eShop credit, and spent a bit of that on Gorogoa (also covered) and a game I’ve had my eye on a lot, Blaster Master Zero. I also accidentally bought the Ghostbusters and Lego Batman story packs for Lego Dimensions.

Oh, and because I had some Steam credit and because Cool Ghosts made me want them, I’ve picked up Passpartout: The Starving Artist and The Norwood Suite. Like most games they may sit unplayed until I buy the Switch version in the future instead. Ho ho.

Mainly, I’ve played Splatoon 2. I completed single player, and have reached Level 4 online.

With my daughter I’ve played quite a few matches of Super Bomberman R and I’m pleased to reveal that whatever was “wrong” with it at launch has now been fixed. Aside from the graphical style (which has never been good since they stopped using pixels), it’s Bomberman. And Bomberman is great.

I’m not actually sure I remember what the issues everyone had with the  game back when it came out now, but I’m not seeing anything now. It’s fun!

Once I finished Splatoon, I moved onto (again with my daughter) The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game which as well as having the most ridiculous game name ever, is actually a little different to other Lego games. You have lots of fighting moves at your disposal, and instead of red bricks you have XP to obtain that levels you up giving you “powers” to unlock in a sort of skill tree. It’s early days yet (we’ve only done the first few levels), but I’m liking it a lot so far.

And finally, I’ve played a bit of Passpartout: The Starving Artist. Yes, I know I said it’d probably sit unplayed – and it might yet – but it’s quirky and silly and I love making crap art and selling it for peanuts. I mean look:

And of course, I played some more Stardew Valley, but as I posted the other day, I consider that “completed”.

Other than that, I got given a few games by @IndieGamerChick as part of #indiexmas. First up, was a game called Gunmetal Arcadia Zero. It’s by the same team as You Have to Win the Game, which I coincidentally, played, enjoyed and completed recently. This game is a lot like Zelda II and Castlevania II, and has a familiar NES feeling to it. It’s pretty good so far.

Also from her was Kid Tripp for the Switch. Yep, she (and the devs, Four Horses) gave away a Switch game! It’s a simple “forced runner”, but with lovely blown-up pixel graphics. There’s a nice rhythm to each level, albeit not a “musical” rhythm like, say, Bit Trip Runner, and it plays well. It’s just so very, very hard.

Finally, another game (also from Four Horses) is Digger Dan DX for the 3DS, a homage to Boulderdash. Judging from the number of levels, it’s huge! I’m enjoying it so far.

And that… is everything. I think! Phew, eh? For now, I’m going to try and slim this lot down to a couple of titles just to make it manageable. Ninjago will be one, and for the moment at least, Passpartout will be the other. Find out soon if I actually do this or not!

Stuff wot I are bin playing

I’ve not posted in a while, aside from to mention Yakuza 3 and Old World Blues, but I have still been playing games. Here’s a round-up of what’s been going down over the last few weeks:

Professor Layton and the Lost Future (DS)

I actually completed this at the start of the year, but as I did with the previous two games once the story was done I left the remaining puzzles until near the release of the following game. So, with that due in November, I went back to Lost Future. I’ve already mopped up all the story puzzles, the sticker book, the parrot delivery puzzles, and the toy car, and have done most of the bonus extra puzzles too.

As usual, the puzzles I struggle with are the slide-a-block-through-other-blocks ones, one of which (having checked online afterwards to see how poorly I did) can be completed in just 9 moves. Took me almost 3500. Yes.

Urban Champion 3D (3DS)

It’s a weak title, sure. It’s certainly not a “NES classic”, but somehow, it’s addictive. I’ve made it up to (I think) Area Champion, but then died. You don’t seem to lose your rank when you die though – you just have to start from the first round again.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (3DS)

The only 2D Zelda game I’ve not completed. In fact, I’ve barely played it. But I put some time in and once you forget it’s a Zelda game and look at it as a Metroidvania game with an overworld and semi-random, realtime battles, it makes a lot more sense. It’s brutally hard though!

Metroid (3DS)

Another one of the NES games us 3DS “ambassadors” got for free. It’s hard. Like, really hard. And there’s no map. I sort of like it, but the difficulty is really putting me off.

Balloon Fight / Mario & Yoshi / NES Open / Wrecking Crew (3DS)

Other NES games that I’ve played for an hour or so each, but not really invested too much time in yet. Wrecking Crew is ace, and NES Open is still a pretty competent golf game.

Let’s Golf 3D (3DS)

Enjoying this. The 3D is pointless (as in, it barely has any effect at all), but it doesn’t really matter. I’m about 35% through Career Mode now, and am starting to get used to the courses. The arctic and aztec ones are particularly difficult! I like the different game modes too, like Closest To The Pin and such.

10 Second Run (3DS)

It’s actually DSiWare, but I don’t have a DSi so it falls under 3DS. So there. Loved it at first, with its super-quick runny-jumpiness, but sadly – just like other games of its ilk (N+, Super Meat Boy) – it became far too hard to be enjoyable. I’ve completed about 38 of the 50 levels, and although I know there are 5 or 6 more I could probably manage with perseverance, some just seem completely beyond me. Boo!

Bomberman Live! (360)

I was online this evening at the same time as some ugvm/BETEO people who were playing this, and I thought I’d join in hoping my useless “broadband” connection could take the pace. It held up for the first few rounds, but by the end of the first tournament the lag was causing me to blow myself up far too frequently, and by the end of the second tournament I was been told over the headset that I’d died before I actually noticed on-screen. Rubbish.

And I’d have beaten all-comers if it wasn’t for Sky! *shakes fist*

Kirby’s Fun Pak (Wii)

The SNES game on the Wii, to be more accurate. Mainly played because my daughter sometimes tells me to play Kirby games, and so this appeases her, but it is good anyway. Only one game mode left to complete, I think, though.

Is that everything I’ve played recently? Probably. Except for stuff I’ve played briefly. Like, but not limited to: Outrun Online Arcade (360), Sonic the Hedgehog (360), Super Mario All-Stars (Wii), Muscle March (Wii), and various iPad “room escape” games. And the usual Words With Friends, Hanging With Friends and Carcassonne matches too, of course.

Bomberman Land Wii (Wii)

You may have noticed I’ve not posted anything all week. That’s not because I haven’t played anything, it’s just because I’ve been really busy. Besides, the only game I’ve touched is this one.

And I’m around 8.5 hours into single player mode now. I’ve completed the Ring and Delta zones (both with ease), but now I’m on to the Diamond Zone and it’s suddenly become really hard.

There are three games making it difficult for me to progress. The hardest is “Water Skipping”. It’s impossible. The second is “Bomb Smash”, which is impossible. Then there’s the multiplayer “Bomb Balloon”, which is impossible.

So I’m stuck and frustrated and I don’t like the game any more. Bah.

Bomberman Land Wii (Wii)

I went back to the single player story mode on this today, and finished off all of the first zone – coming first over all. I was quite surprised I managed to come first, as after the first (of four) rounds, I was so far behind the leader there was no way I was going to be able to win.

But I did – with 114 points compared to my nearest rival on 81.

Unfortunately, I have found a large flaw in the game. To play the minigames (to earn “pieces” – the points you need to win), you need tokens, and you’re given more tokens than there are games to play. However, if you get top score on a game, you can’t play it again. So, basically, if you’re good, you run out of games to play before you’re out of tokens. Which is silly.

Oh, and you rack up hundreds of training points (which you spend on things) in the training games, but there’s nothing to spend them on. You buy all the best stuff from the shop, and you still have hundreds and hundreds of spendable points left.

Bomberman Land Wii (Wii)

Another couple of hours in battle mode today. It seems the best way to play is to set everything to random – arena, rules, starting positions – everything. Helpfully, there’s a game mode that does all this for you. Every round is different!

Of course, I won.

Bomberman Land Wii (Wii)

This arrived yesterday. Played it for about an hour in “traditional” mode – the same Bomberman game in multiplayer since the dawn of time. And in this respect, it is very good. It’s missing some of the more recent (well, 15 year old…) additions like throwing bombs and things to ride on, but it has all the required power-ups and plays as well as it ever did.

There are a few different modes, such as Star Mode where when you die you respawn but lose stars, which are scattered across the play area for all to collect. The winner is the person with the most when the time runs out. Then there’s Points Mode, where you get points for killing others and lose points for killing yourself. There’s also a “Wii” mode, which consists of no Bombermen at all, just pointers on the screen where you shoot bombs. It sort of works, but is a bit confusing.

After playing that, I played single player Story Mode. There’s a lot of chatting and cutscenes (unskippable, and the captions can’t be sped up either – gah!), and it seems to consist of a load of mini-games rather than any Bomberman style action. It’s very odd. You buy goes in these games with tokens, then gain “pieces” depending on how well you do. Once your tokens are all used up, your won pieces are tallied and you’re ranked against the other contestants on a leaderboard – come first and you’re promoted up to the next tier of games. I didn’t come first. Rubbish.

Bomberman Live (360)

Played quite a few games of this with my wife this evening. Although she didn’t win any matches, she did win some games.

Played with pretty much everything on Random, but seemed to get the map where there are brown sticky splodges on the floor appeared to crop up half the time, which is a pain as I hate that one!

Bomberman Live (360)

I was joust going to have an hour or so of Forza 2 when I realised Tim was online and playing Bomberman Live. “Aha!” I thought, “I can thrash him at that!”

And promptly did.

By “thrash” I mean, I won what was essentially a very close set of best-of-threes, with me winning 4 sets to 3 overall. But it’s the winning that counts, right? Right.

Bomberman Live (360)

Played a few online games, but in every game there was at least one player who was lagging something chronic. This meant he was essentially invincible, as bombs couldn’t hurt his as he wasn’t really where he appeared, and also he magically seemed to drop bombs around you while he was actually somewhere else on screen. It was very frustrating!

Despite this, I did manage win a couple of sets-of-2!

Bomberman Live (360)

Played several games this evening with my wife and a few bots, with every setting possible set to Random. I won more than her, but then, I am Best.

Bomberman is ace, isn’t it?

Bomberman Live (360)

No messing with demo mode for this, it’s Bomberman, so was bought straight off.

Firstly, the bad: I don’t like the 3D graphics. I much prefer proper sprites, like the Saturn and PCE versions I’ve played recently. Secondly, the not-quite-overhead view is annoying, and although you can click the right stick to flick it back to the way it should be, you have to do this every single game – there’s no option to set it as default. Next, there’s an issue with the controls. The button to pick up bombs is the same button as to lay them (which feels wrong), and to lay a line bomb you don’t just double-tab the “drop bomb”, you have to hold the right trigger and press a button.

But, none of these things really matter, as it’s still Bomberman and it’s even online. OH YES.

So I played a few games against bots, then went online with random people, and won one of the three games I played there. Aces!

Saturn Bomberman (Saturn)

Best Bomberman ever? Of course. It has all the greatness of the SNES incarnations, but with the addition of extra battle maps, characters, and best of all, simultaneous players. Ten, in fact.

Thing is, there was only me and the wife, so ten seemed a bit of overkill. We started with five instead (three CPU players, if maths isn’t your strong point), and after a few rounds bumped it up to eight.

However, I eventually set it to wide-mode and the full ten. Oh my. It hurts the eyes even on a proper widescreen 32″ TV. God only knows the ocular damage I suffered when younger, playing it on a 4:3 20″ TV.

Bomberman ’93 (Wii)

Killed the plant boss on World 2, and now I’ve moved on to World 3 – Lava World (or something). The levels are getting a bit tricky now, as there are floor panels you can’t drop bombs on (or kick bombs across), and teleporters too.

Bomberman ’93 (Wii)

Played through the first world of single player mode. Erm. There’s not really much more to add, except it wasn’t very hard and I only lost one life. The boss was easy too.

Bomberman ’93 (Wii)

Another downloaded game, this. It’s the PC Engine version of Bomberman ’93, which I actually have for the PC Engine somewhere too. Tch, eh?

Anyway, so played several two player battle games with my wife, and won most of them.